Recently, Flavors of Brazil featured in a few posts an ingredient called fubá. Fubá is the ground, dried corn that is known in English as cornmeal, and it is used to make delicious cakes and pastries among other things. (Click here for a recipe for Bolo de Fubá, a sweet cornmeal cake.)
Brazilians make much use of fubá in savory dished too, and in that they are like the northern Italians who turn their cornmeal into the famous Italian dish polenta. When fubá is mixed with water, with or without other ingredients, and then cooked it becomes angu - Brazil's polenta. In areas of Brazil which received a large number of Italian immigrants in the past people do use the word polenta, but in the rest of the country, it's called angu, a word that derives from the Fon language of West Africa. In some regions of Brazil angu is prepared not with cornmeal (fubá) but with manioc flour, however, angu de fubá, is the more traditional dish.
Italian polenta is often referred to as being either "wet" or "dry" depending on the relative quantity of water and cornmeal. Wet polenta is creamy and won't hold its shape on a spoon. Dry polenta is firm, and after cooking and cooling, can be cut into any shape desired. There is a similar variation in Brazilian angu - one style, which is made simply with fubá, water and salt and which has a firm texture is called angu mineiro, which means "in the style of Minas Gerais." The creamier, moister angu is called angu baiano, "in the style of Bahia." Angu baiano often has other ingredients added to the basic cornmeal and water, things such as meats, shrimp, vegetables and seasonings.
Angu, of whichever style, is generally served as a side dish. As it's a carbohydrate, it is often served in place of rice or pasta, although Brazilians do not restrict themselves to one starch per meal, and often serve both angu and rice on the same plate.